Developers to build school in green-belt homes bid

The controversial site at Frogston Road East. Picture: Julie Bull
The controversial site at Frogston Road East. Picture: Julie Bull
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HOUSING developers have vowed to build a new primary school – in return for being allowed to build 600 homes on green-belt land.

The new school will get the go-ahead if planning chiefs approve the controversial proposals to build on land in the south of the city.

David Wilson Homes and Clarendon Planning and Development, working with the Catchelraw Trust, has filed papers confirming it wants to develop a site at Broomhills. 
The proposal comes after planners earmarked land close to Frogston Road East for between 425 and 595 dwellings, which would include a site for a new school to alleviate pressure on Gilmerton and Craigour Park ­primaries.

It is expected that the school will be financed partly through developer contributions – and comes at a time when Edinburgh has never been more 
in the spotlight in terms of planning.

The city is under strain to balance demand for homes with lack of space and stretched ­services.

As such, the plan to build at Broomhills has attracted the ire of residents, who warn it would result in the loss of green space and traffic logjams.

Broomhills Farm Cottages resident Dougie Mackaill, 49, who has lived in the area for 12 years, said: “Everybody round here would be dead against this. Obviously they are going to have to build a school somewhere round here because the other schools are at bursting point.

“There’s an argument that there are plenty of other spaces in the city on which this could be built – why does it have to be green space?”

The plans are the latest in a series outlined for the south of the city as population and school rolls continue to rise.

In April, we revealed city chiefs were eyeing land occupied by the Astley Ainslie Hospital for a new primary, with classrooms also in the pipeline for a proposed, 500-home ­development at Gilmerton Station Road.

Antony Duthie, of Clarendon Planning and Development, said: “Naturally, the proposed local development plan is yet to be ratified and development proposals are at a very early stage.

“At this juncture, however, we can confirm that proposals will include a site for the new primary school in line with Edinburgh City Council’s 
aspirations.”

Political leaders stressed the city’s local development plan had still to receive final approval. Councillor Norma Austin Hart, Labour group member for Gilmerton and Liberton, said she will be looking to make sure any funding for a new school “is secure” and with “enough provision”.

She said: “There are implications for secondary schools in the area as well”.

Boroughmuir leads with anti-bullying text service

A TEXT messaging service set up at an Edinburgh school at a cost of only £20 has been hailed as a big step forward in the fight against bullying.

Staff at Boroughmuir High established a confidential bullying text line for pupils who may have balked at approaching staff directly about a problem.

The line was set up last summer after the school purchased a mobile phone to allow pupils to contact teachers by text at a time and place of their choosing.

The system allows pupils to arrange confidential meetings with guidance teachers – without being seen by their tormentors. It has already helped around 12 youngsters, including a child at another school who was being bullied by pupils from Boroughmuir on a school bus service. Now the line has been praised by city education leaders as an example of best practice, with senior staff at Boroughmuir receiving inquires from counterparts across the Capital. Phil Cifelli, deputy headteacher at Boroughmuir, said: “For many young people, it’s difficult to walk along that guidance corridor, knock on the staffroom door and say they’re being bullied. The more you have in place for a young person to report bullying, the better. I would recommend this to other schools.”

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, praised the system, which could be rolled out to other schools. “The Boroughmuir Bully Line is a great example of the positive work being carried out in our schools to promote equality and highlight unacceptable behaviour,” he said.